Virtualizing SQL Server: 8 Things to Avoid


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I have been involved in virtualization projects for about ten years now. In that time I have had the opportunity to track my own list of best practice items. It's a list I share freely with customers that seek out virtualization advice. I can tell that virtualization (and Cloud) efforts are on the rise simply by the number of requests I get for help, specifically for virtualizing SQL Server.

I like to call this list my "facepalm" special, as any one of these essentially triggers a facepalm reaction. They have helped my customers in the past and I am certain they will help you.

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Virtualizing SQL Server: 8 Things to Avoid

  1. 1. Virtualizing SQL Server: 8 Things To Avoid Thomas LaRock Technical Evangelist Confio Software
  2. 2. 1. Build Your Own • Don’t recycle old hardware for use as a new production host • If the hardware is old now, imagine how old it will be in another 18 months • Due to licensing costs, it may be cheaper to buy new hardware and provision as a host 2
  3. 3. 2. No Performance Expectations • You need to set performance SLAs • You do this with baselines • Measure logical I/O and CPU costs for your queries 3
  4. 4. 3. Select Wrong Disk Choice • RDM v VMDK; which one do you want? • Know the differences in RAID as well • Understand what can cause “noisy neighbor” syndrome 4
  5. 5. 4. Thin Provisioning • If you don’t have room now, what makes you think you will later? • Important to know what you actual sizes are, otherwise recovery may be impossible 5
  6. 6. 5. Over-allocation of Memory and/or CPU • It leads to over-commit, which is often bad for performance • Allow for 1.5:1 vCPU to logical core ratio • Do not over allocate memory 6
  7. 7. 6. Trusting O/S Counters • Standard counters offer no visibility to the Hypervisor layer • Need to examine VM, Hyper-V specific counters • Understand if bottleneck is with host, guest, or internal to database engine 7
  8. 8. 7. Running It All At Once • Important to know your workloads • vMotion can help • Leave room for growth and movement 8
  9. 9. 8. Capacity Planning • Often a futile effort • Business needs shift quickly, throwing out all your metrics that try to predict growth • Need to have room to grow, otherwise planning won’t matter 9
  10. 10. For More Information • • ver_on_VMware-Best_Practices_Guide.pdf • Read more at 10
  11. 11. Database Performance Analyzer Can Help! • DPA will help correlate queries with VMWare metrics • Installs in minutes • Get answers in less than 5 clicks Full interactive demo available at 11
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